on some insight into the publishing world

An article explains some of the reality of Christian publishing:

What’s Not Coming to a Bookstore Near You | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction: “Taylor explains the process. An agent approaches the publisher with a can’t-miss book proposal by a big-name Christian author. The publisher likes the idea. The agent lets the publisher know that other houses want the book. This project demands a serious advance. Perhaps against better judgment, the publisher bites.

‘So we get the deal,’ Taylor writes. ‘We pay the advance. The manuscript comes in. We begin to wonder why we paid so much for this average manuscript. We edit it and market it and sell it and process the returns. And at the end of the day we take a huge write-off. If we’re lucky, the book earns a net contribution to overheads. But in most of these scenarios, the book generates a loss even apart from overheads. Competition (and perhaps some greed) has nearly killed us.'”

Articles like this remind me that most of those spouting off about ‘why don’t fundamentalists write more books’ are totally clueless about how business works. The publishing business is affected by economics like any other business: risk and reward, supply and demand.

It is foolish to imagine that serious books by fundamentalists will gain much headway in the publishing world. A few excellent ones may emerge from time to time (like Jim Berg’s Changed into His Image) but by and large, the Christian publishing world is dominated by market demands and is run by evangelicals who have no time for the fundamentalist agenda.

Those who spout off as if fundamentalism has failed because we don’t produce enough books are simply ignorant of reality.

In order for fundamentalism to have a wider voice, fundamentalism needs to be wider. That means faithful preaching and teaching in local churches, evangelism and discipleship, building a larger and more faithful constituency. It means hard work. It means to get our eyes off worldly success as enjoyed by evangelicals and a willingness to serve in obscurity until the King comes, if necessary.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3